Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beauty in the Breakdown

I'm so glad you all enjoyed hearing about my new camera bag in the last post.  I'm in no way affiliated with Kelly Moore but wanted to give a shout out to a great company.  I hope that those of you who said you might be looking for a good camera bag will have the opportunity to own one, I know you will love yours as much as I love mine!

This week is one of those crazy weeks where you have a list of emails, phone calls, and appointments that stare you down each morning when you wake up.  I am slowly addressing each of those, but there never seem to be enough hours in the day.

When I feel buried by "real" life stuff, I sometimes do the complete opposite of what I should be doing, and veer off into projects that could playing around with photography.  I blame people like Kate for this, since she always posts such gorgeous pictures, both her own and those of others, on her blog.  In a recent post she included some amazing images from flickr and one of those was a still life that was breathtaking.

I've been enamored with still life photography for a long time, really since the first time I stumbled upon an example of it in a cookbook of all places.  I've longed to recreate what Dutch Masters of old captured in their paintings, the subtle use of light and shadow, vivid colors, and an almost 3-D quality that draws the viewer in.

The people who are really good at this type of photography make it look amazingly easy, but it is not.  It takes more than a simple knowledge of photography, there are also things like lighting, angles, and most importantly...composition to consider.  The end result should draw the eye to one primary part of the image, similar to having a star of a show, and the other pieces are simply supporting characters meant to create a sense of place and scene.

Texture and background are also important, and I've used a variety of textures, mostly by Florabella and Kim Klassen.  If you haven't signed up for Kim's very generous and always lovely free textures, you really should.  

I think that to really become a master at creating images that resemble artistic master paintings, it wouldn't hurt to have a background in art, which I am sorely lacking.  I feel like artists have an innate sense of composition, color, and lighting, which are all things I have to study and think about.  The other key ingredient is to have the proper lighting equipment.  I've been fortunate to find used lighting equipment (a soft box is a must when you are starting out with still life photography) through friends and contacts who were getting out of the business.  Lighting is crucial in creating the look you want in the finished image.

The process of breaking down an image has become a key element and driving force behind taking my photography to the next step.  If you surf the web enough and stare at enough photos you begin to see the way certain images come into being.  From there you can create your images using your own sense of style.

Although there were other things I should have been doing, this wasn't really a waste of time, I will be adding them to my portfolio on my website, so it was kind of like doing work! ;-)

And speaking of beauty in the breakdown, the wonderfully wise A-M posted an article about decluttering (you can read it here) on the very day I had done some decluttering of my own.  Having 7 bins, yes I said 7, of fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving decor was feeling like a wee bit too much...well that and the fact that Mr. Tide snidely said, "so...fall is your favorite time of year?...because you have more bins for it than you have for Christmas!" I knew it was time.

I've always been someone who goes through my things regularly and gets rid of them.  Moving 6 times in 7 years when we were first married makes you appreciate the notion of packing light.  But even though this house is much smaller than our last, and we did get rid of a ton of stuff when we moved, I've been a bit neglectful about taking stock and getting rid of things as frequently as I once did.  Throw in the fact that my parents both passed away and so I inherited a lifetime's worth of their stuff to boot, and well, things had gotten little out of hand when it came to my holiday decor hoarding.

So I sat there in my living room, surrounded by tubs full of stuff, some of which we had had since we first got married, and some of which my parents used to decorate their own home, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Right then and there I broke down...something I almost never do!  Mr. Tide came to see what was wrong, and I blubbered and sputtered about how it was just hard, getting rid of things that held memories from a simpler time.  He of course told me not to get rid of the stuff if it made me sad.  I explained that I was ready, it's a complicated emotion, but that it was just hard letting go.

By the time I got my shower and we loaded up the huge bin (I emptied 3 bins total) to take to the donation place I was fine...I felt lighter really, like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.  So when I read the article linked above I knew I had made the right decision, I was ready to get rid of something old to welcome something new into my life...a little breathing room perhaps!  So there really is Beauty in the Breakdown, and sometimes it's best to Let Go!

If you would like to learn more about creating Still Life Photos, click HERE


  1. Kat you images are absolutely breathtaking!!! I just told my hubby that I want him to get the Christmas boxes down now,before it is time to decorate so I can purge. We have so many boxes of items i no longer use. I think this process of purging will be a hard one for me. There are too many memories attached to things, but it has to be done, You are inspiring me to do so!!Happy weekend,Kathysue

  2. LOVE you photography! Kat, you are a huge talent! I need someone to help me get rid of at least 1/2 of the things in my home! Want to come?

  3. Love the still lifes. How wonderful to declutter. 7 bins? I could probably fill seven trucks!

  4. I'm right there with you ... need to declutter and simplify, but what should go? Piece at a time, we're getting a bit lighter around here. Projects are getting finished, piles are a bit smaller ... baby steps.

    I love your still lifes ... lives? ... pretty pictures!

  5. Kat, I just love all of the still life photos you took! They are all so wonderful and beautiful! Thanks for sharing them with us.

  6. It's always so much fun to see what you come up with Kat with your photography. Those still life images do remind me of the Dutch Masters' paintings. And decluttering IS such sweet sorrow. xo ~Lili

  7. Stunning, Kat!
    You are a true artist in every sense of the word.

  8. That first image is stunning and a very worthy addition to your gallery for sure. I did some of my own decluttering this morning, contributing to a friend's garage sale tomorrow. Have a lovely weekend.

  9. Just lovely. You are an artist for sure:)

  10. Yes, it can be difficult to separate an item from emotion, but once you do, it is easy to clean house.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.